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26 Seriously Useful Baking Tips You'll Wish You Knew About Sooner

To help make your bakes the absolute best.

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We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community for their best baking tip that everyone should know. Here are some of their suggestions.

1. Invest in a silicone baking mat.

amazon.co.uk

"Not only does it save your pans, but it cuts cleaning time in half and I personally think that the mat makes the cookies bake much more evenly."

Submitted by Ashley Steidl, Facebook.

4. Coat things like fruit and chocolate chips in flour before adding them to your mix.

Flickr: cbertel

"This prevents all the bits from sinking to the bottom and ensures you’ve got an even distribution of flavour."

Submitted by missmadiejean.

5. Use an ice cream scoop to portion your muffins and cupcakes.

Flickr: jamiesrabbits

"When I make muffins or cupcakes, I use a small ice cream scoop to fill the liners. It gives me perfect proportions every time."

Submitted by cici10.

6. Swap vanilla extract for vanilla bean paste.

Flickr: amyzirkle

"The flavour is more similar to using a real vanilla bean, and you get those little black vanilla seeds as proof of how fancy you and your cake/frosting/whatever you’re making is."

Submitted by kristineAB.

7. Spoon flour into your measuring cup instead of scooping it.

Flickr: 42dreams

"When measuring flours, don’t scoop with your measuring cup. Spoon flour into your measuring cup and level it with a knife."

Submitted by caitlinb4ee9da6bc.

8. But it's a good idea to look for recipes measured in grams or pounds instead of cups.

Flickr: dinnerseries

"By getting recipes with the ingredients in grams or pounds, you will see more exactness in your final products."

Submitted by cawthonkristen.

9. Don't be afraid of using salt.

Flickr: billhr

"People always assume that because it's a dessert it doesn't need salt — I can't stress enough that salt is the missing ingredient in so many dishes! "

Submitted by anissam481196c7c.

10. If you need to used chilled butter, grate it and freeze it for about an hour beforehand.

Flickr: joyosity

"When recipes call for chilled butter (pie crust, biscuits, and the like), grate the butter ahead of time and put it in the freezer for an hour or so before incorporating it into the recipe. Since it's already quite cold and in itty-bitty pieces, you'll handle it less which will prevent the butter from melting and it keeps the fat molecules intact, resulting in flakier pastries."

Submitted by Casey Austin, Facebook.

11. Always let your cakes cool before attempting to ice them.

Flickr: sailor_coruscant

"They’ll break if you take them out the tin too early and the frosting will melt right off. Basically, let those babies rest for a good 30 minutes before attempting anything".

Submitted by rattlethestars.

12. Small things, like sifting your flour, make a big difference.

Flickr: forayinto35mm

"I know it seems like such a superfluous, tiny step, but it really does create a world of difference in the quality of your final cake, pie, bread, or whatever other goodie you are making. I used to think that I was not that great with baking, but once I started taking little, easy, quality assurance steps, like sifting flour, or making sure things were baking at the right temperature, my baking really transformed into something."

Submitted by jakem4fe1d7527.

13. Check the expiration date on your bicarbonate of soda.

Flickr: thriftyuk

"You’re technically supposed to replace baking soda every month, but if you don’t want to or forget, just add a bit more baking soda than your recipe calls for. Seems simple, but before I knew this, I could never figure out why my cookies kept coming out flat!"

Submitted by natalied47cd09933.

14. Know that a lot of the time, you shoudn't over-mix things.

Flickr: 25904307@N08

"Very rarely should you ever mix a dough or batter until all of the lumps are gone. Most recipes say “until incorporated” and they mean just that."

Submitted by sarahjanealetam.

15. But if you're creaming butter and sugar, make sure it's thoroughly blended.

Flickr: grongar

"One of the biggest mistakes that new bakers make is not going far enough when creaming the butter and sugar. You want it to turn out pale and fluffy. A lot of beginners only blend it until it’s just combined and still very yellow and gritty."

Submitted by shortyellowcape.

16. Keep cookies fresh by putting a slice of bread in the airtight container with them.

Flickr: avlxyz

"It’s a great use for the ends of the loafs that no one wants to eat! It works best if you put a small piece of plastic wrap between the bread and cookies, so they don’t get too soft."

Submitted by suet4b291b6c6.

19. Test your cakes with a toothpick to check if they're done.

Flickr: scarygami

"If pieces stick to the toothpick, it’s not ready yet! Better to set a timer for less than what the recipe says and have to wait a few more minutes than risk over baking and turning everything dry and sad."

Submitted by andromeda7794.

21. Make sure your ingredients are the temperature the recipe specifies.

Flickr: thebokeeffect

"Temperature is everything! If the recipe says softened butter – it means soft, as in room temperature. Same goes for cold ingredients. When you’re making any kind of dough that needs to be flaky, make sure everything is super cold. "

Submitted by katem4a15af294.

22. Add a drop of liquified coconut oil to help to thin melting chocolate.

Flickr: dcoetzee

"When using melting chocolate, add a drop of liquified coconut oil to thin the chocolate and make it more manageable for coating baked goods or making candy. Be sure to add only a drop or two at a time, adding more if needed – being careful not to add too much."

Submitted by whodatv504.

23. Use the same weight of eggs, flour, sugar, and butter for a perfect sponge cake.

Flickr: gordonplant

"When making a sponge cake, weigh your eggs and then use that same weight of flour, sugar, and butter."

Submitted by Beth Alice Wood, Facebook.

24. Freeze your sugar cookies and pie crust pieces for 15 minutes before putting them in the oven.

Flickr: 24013072@N05

"It keeps the butter from melting as much in the oven, and thus your cookies or pie crust pieces keep their shape better."

Submitted by Robyn Davis, Facebook.

25. If you can't find anywhere for your dough to rise, pop it in a preheated oven on a low temperature for a bit (but make sure to turn the oven off before putting the dough in).

Flickr: fstorr

"If you have trouble finding a warm and dry place in your house for dough to rise, preheat your oven to 200°F (just over 90°C, or 70°C on a fan assisted oven), turn it off, and put the dough in the oven to rise. This works perfectly for me every time!"

Submitted by Abbie Smith, Facebook.

26. Put your beaters and bowl in the fridge before you make whipped cream.

Flickr: lotheringtons

"If you are making whipped cream for a baked item, be sure to refrigerate the beaters from your hand mixer and a metal bowl to whip the cream in. If they are cold, your cream will whip faster!"

Submitted by madelinet47212520d.

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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